The novel set at Carson Long draws on the author’s experience
David McCoy taught humanities for 32 years. Since his retirement he has published dozens of books ranging from history to poetry and his first novel set at the Carson Long Military Academy (CLMA) in the early 1970s.
The 2020 novel, “Carson Long Institute: A Seniors Journal 1972-1973,” is written in journal entry form and follows the fictional David “Rocky” McCoy through his senior year at school. The novel also deals with the difficult topics of sexual violence and trauma.
Despite his dates, McCoy admits that the novel sums up his five years at CLMA into one and includes a relationship years later in college to tell the difficult story. He attended New Bloomfield Military Academy from 1968 to 1973.
McCoy is not originally from Perry County and now resides in Perry Twp., Ohio. But in this novel, he shares a significant part of his life that preserves his fond memories of CLMA. The military academy closed in 2019.
“I never kept a diary back then,” McCoy said. “When I wrote the first draft, it was between 1988 and 1991 and journaling was a popular teaching method at the time. I’ve always wanted to write a novel, and it helped keep my mind busy while on childcare leave.
In eighth grade, McCoy enrolled in CLMA as a poor student. It was the only option his family thought they could help, and it became his life changing opportunity.
“My grandmother taught in Pennsylvania and she reunited with Carson Long. I went to military summer camps so going to school didn’t scare me, ”McCoy said.
It wasn’t until his sophomore year that his grades started improving and his writing spark ignited. CLMA had speed reading lessons, which ultimately hooked McCoy. By now, McCoy will take a Reader’s Digest magazine and go through the vocabulary sections.
“Things changed in my sophomore year after my parents told me it looked like I ended up in a factory like my dad. I then admitted that I wanted to get into teaching, and they dropped their silverware in stunned silence. Rightly so, ”said McCoy.
Once he developed a greater respect for learning, McCoy began to write the stories and poems he had once composed in his head. He continued to write poetry as a hobby over the years. When he graduated from CLMA, he told his mother that he needed to find a job only to find out that she had enrolled him in college.
McCoy is said to be a graduate of Ashland University and Kent State University, both in Ohio. McCoy wanted to specialize in socialization and personality development. He quickly became a history professor at the Jackson Local School District just outside of Canton, Ohio, and remained for 32 years, primarily as a college professor.
“When I started writing, I wrote mostly poetry. I would say it comes from listening to music. The poems that were part of the novel were written after I was at Carson Long because I was so tired of the ones I wrote back then, ”McCoy said.
His relationship with a college girlfriend and a relationship at the time of his participation in CLMA became the character of the novel, Rebecca.
“The only thing they had in common was that they both played field hockey,” said McCoy.
The character of Rebecca in the first half of the book is based on McCoy’s relationship with the daughter of a CLMA secretary at the time of her presence. He spent many weekends with them, and his mother became a mother away from McCoy’s home because his family was all in Ohio.
However, it’s a college girlfriend who serves as the basis for the character of Rebecca in Part 2 of “The Carson Long Institute,” McCoy said.
Her story of rape by a family member and dealing with trauma is what really inspired McCoy’s novel. Her experience was something some writers might cover up, but McCoy allows her to be heard. Although she ultimately broke his heart, her reasoning will bring any reader to a silent understanding.
New technologies and current events have helped move McCoy forward with this book.
“I never imagined publishing,” he said. “Once Amazon started publishing, I had the book typed. Ultimately, Carson Long’s shutdown prompted me to throw out some of the childish shenanigans and add school history to get it ready for publication, ”McCoy said.
He said he edited the novel to have basic language so that almost anyone above a sixth grade level could read the book. CLMA gave McCoy the opportunity to become more than a factory worker, he said. And that gave him the opportunity to publish his first novel. Now he has preserved CLMA through storytelling.
McCoy has written a plethora of other books, many of which have focused on various aspects of American and world history such as student resistance to the Nazi Party in 1943 in Germany, a book on the Harlem Renaissance by writers, philosophers and black businesses, and one on 20th Century Violence in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles”.
In addition, McCoy’s “Voices from Behind the Mask” is a collection of poetry and features his most recent poems. Like his other works, it is quick and easy to read, providing a lot of relevant information for readers.
You can find “Carson Long Institute” and other work by McCoy on his Amazon.com author page www.amazon.com/author/davdmccoy.